Norfolk coastal authorities have closed off a section of the county’s coastline as erosion threatens to topple a string of homes. The Hemsby Lifeboat crew said they feared properties in The Marrams could soon start falling into the beach’s dunes. They added there is a “chance of injury due to further collapse” as they inspected the Hemsby Gap beach ahead of a high tide this weekend.
The group – an independent volunteer organization separate from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) – said in a Facebook post that conditions have eaten away at the beach.
High winds and tides have caused “significant” damage that threatens nearby homes.
In the post, the organization said they expected the tide to reach 11ft (3.3m) on Saturday, February 25.
The height was approximately a meter beyond Hemsby’s average.
Altogether, these conditions have led the lifeboat service to deem the area a “threat” to public safety.
In the Facebook post, the service said they closed off the beach access point “due to the instability of the sand where the sea has cut into the slope to the beach”.
The authority thanked members of the local community for their support, despite the measures taken “restricting their movements”.
Those whose homes are threatened by the conditions have had mixed reactions to the encroaching danger.
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Hemsby Lifeboat coxswain Daniel Hurd said one woman plans to leave her home.
He added that a second household had chosen to stay put for the time being as they monitored the situation.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Hurd said he wouldn’t be taking his chances with the erosion.
He added the situation was “heartbreaking”, with lifeboat crews having dealt with similar circumstances before.
Council officials said 13 homes, again on The Marrams, were “uninhabitable” and evacuated tenants.
Photos showed that parts of the homes had already crumbled over the cliff edge.
Rubble and parts of the interiors – including a toilet – were found on the beachfront below.
The impact has also bled over to the lifeboat crews, as storms damaged their access ramp in 2022, forcing the organization to fundraise for a new one.